Prot­est­ant Nar­rat­ives on Europe after 1945

We warmly welcome you to join us in next week’s EuroStorie research seminar on Friday, 24th of September at 1:00pm–2:00pm (EEST) via Zoom live stream.

Please see the link below. 

Dr. Kath­ar­ina Kunter (University of Helsinki) will be presenting on the subject of “Prot­est­ant Nar­rat­ives on Europe after 1945”.

When: Friday 24.9.2021 at 1:00pm–2:00pm EEST

Where: Please join us live via Zoom-stream on the following address:
Meeting ID: 698 5345 9330

Event webpage:


In contrast to Catholicism in Europe, which quickly became a supporter of European Integration after 1945, Protestantism’s attitude towards Europe was much more diverse and ambivalent. Federal ideas of Europe emerged during the Second World War in the context of the Ecumenical Movement, but did not enter the Protestant mainstream after 1945. Much more dominant, on the other hand, was a Eurosceptic narrative, which was represented above all by German and some Eastern European Protestants and in the World Council of Churches. The talk unfolds this as well as other Protestant narratives on Europe after 1945, such as the pan-European bridge-building idea of the Conference of European Churches or the pastoral interpretation of Europe among Protestants in Strasbourg and Brussels.

About the speaker

Katharina Kunter studied History and Protestant Theology at the Universities of Gießen and Heidelberg in Germany and is Professor for Contemporary Church History at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki.  Since her dissertation on the “Churches in the Helsinki Process”, she has been researching the history and historical narratives of European Protestantism after 1945. For more information, please visit here.

For more information about EuroStorie, the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives, please visit, or follow us on social media @eurostorie.

Categorized as Events

20th Nordic Conference for Systematic Theology

Creation and Crisis: Reopening the Scandinavian Creation Theology

January Friday 14 – Sunday 16 2022
Aarhus University, Denmark

Conference fee:
950 DKK

Registration deadline:
15 December 2021

Call for Papers deadline for short papers:
1 November 2021

Creation theology and Climate change
Creation and Vulnerability
Vulnerability and Climate Justice
A World with Corona – historical, ethical, and epistomological perspectives

About the keynotes:
Niels Henrik Gregersen is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Copenhagen, after having taught 17 years at Aarhus University. Within the field of science-and-theology, he focused on and is well known for developing theories of self-organization and information. Within the field of systematic theology, he developed the concept of Deep Incarnation in the context of a theology of creation. He is the author of seven monographs, three co-authored books, and numerous articles. His work is translated into ten languages.

Simone Kotva is Postdoc in Systematic Theology at the University of Oslo. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge and has taught at the universities of Gothenburg and Cambridge. She works at the intersection of religion, philosophy and geopolitics, and has a special interest in French spiritualism and the relationship between mysticism’s technologies of the self and the science of techno-fixing the earth. She is the author of Effort and Grace: On the Spiritual Exercise of Philosophy (Bloomsbury, 2020) and is currently working on a second monograph, An Enquiry Concerning Nonhuman Understanding: God/s, Species, Crossings.

Serafim Seppälä is Professor of Systematic Theology and Patristics at the University of Eastern Finland, and a hieromonk in the Orthodox Church of Finland. In addition to a number of monographs and translations in Finnish, he is the author of multiple articles in the areas of patristic studies, Byzantine aesthetics, Syriac literature, Jewish-Christian encounter, early Islamic-Christian encounter, and the cultural heritage of Armenian genocide.

For further information, please contact the planning committee:

Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen, University of Aarhus (chairperson)

Christine Svinth-Værge Põder, University of Copenhagen:

Anni Maria Laato, Åbo Akademi University:

Marius Timmann Mjaaland, University of Oslo:

Petra Carlsson, Stockholm School of Theology:

Sólveig Anna Bóasdóttir, University of Iceland:

Conference website.

Categorized as Events

Resiliensteologi : En studie av den kristna traditionens hållbara förändring

Doctoral thesis by Sabina Koij at Åbo Akademi.

The aim of this doctoral thesis is to confront the problem of how Christian faith, constantly expressed and fashioned in new ways, can be said to be the same faith. This problem is formulated in a central question: If Christian faith constantly takes on a variety of new expressions, how can the theology of the Christian faith appear to have continuity? 

The thesis begins by observing the discontinuity of the Christian tradition over a period of 500 years in Storkyrkan, the Cathedral of Stockholm. Starting in the 1980´s and journeying backwards towards the beginning of the reformation, a series of tableaus are outlined which reveal how Christian faith has continuously been manifested in new forms and content. Against this background of discontinuity, I want to suggest how a resilient contemporary theology for the Church of Sweden might appear. 

The question of how Christian faith and it´s continual variety of expressions can be combined simultaneously with continuity is treated as a problem of tradition. This problem of tradition is confronted by referencing the American Catholic theologian David Tracy and his understanding of tradition from a critical hermeneutical point of view. Tracy´s understanding of tradition is compared to the function of the so-called dynamic system and the concept of resilience. Resilience concerns the sustainability of dynamic systems and their ability to accommodate change without losing their basic function and thereby collapsing. 

A central thought enclosed within the theories concerning the concepts of resilience and the dynamic system is the acceptance of complexity, innovation and a readiness for surprise. According to Tracy, the concepts of resilience and the dynamic system are used as tools of analysis in order to shed light upon that which needs to be strengthened regarding a tradition´s ability to endure change without collapsing. The strengthening is accomplished by three moldable criteria presented by a number of Lutheran theologians. These criteria are a biblical criterion, a criterion of reason, logic and personal experience and an ethical criterion. These three criteria reinforce David Tracy´s understanding of the Christian tradition in relation to the concept of resilience, including the acceptance of complexity, innovation and readiness for surprise. The purpose of these criteria is to contribute to the discussion within the Church of Sweden concerning the resilient and sustainable Christian tradition. A suggestion then follows as to how resilient contemporary theology could be formulated, a theology that hopefully will be beneficial in understanding how one and the same faith can absorb a variety of continual new expressions and, as a dynamic system, function according to its intentional purpose. The thesis begins in the Cathedral of Stockholm and concludes in this same room with speculations concerning the future of Christian faith and its ability to meet and absorb a continual flow of new expressions in an ever changing world.

Det övergripande syftet med denna studie, Resiliensteologi. En studie av den kristna traditionens hållbara förändring, är att mot bakgrund av den diskontinuitet som kan observeras i Storkyrkans historia undersöka de teologiska villkoren för kristen traditionsförmedling samt presentera ett förslag till hur en resilient samtidsteologi för Svenska kyrkan skulle kunna se ut. Undersökningen tar avstamp i iakttagelsen att den kristna tron över tid förkunnats och gestaltats på ständigt nya sätt. Därmed reses frågor om vad som kan sägas vara kontinuerligt i tron, om den nu samtidigt hela tiden förändras. 

Avhandlingen inleds med ett Baklängespreludium, vars syfte är att visa hur gestaltningen av den kristna tron har skiftat över tid i ett och samma rum. Det handlar om ett antal historiska tablåer från Storkyrkans historia med början i 1980-talet tillbaka till 1500-talet som synliggör en problematik som sedan formuleras i studiens huvudfråga om hur man kan förstå och tala om den kristna trons kontinuitet och samtidiga diskontinuitet. För att göra frågan om den kristna trons samtidiga förändring och kontinuitet mer hanterlig bearbetas den i termer av en traditionsproblematik. Genom att knyta an till olika teoretiker resoneras kring begreppet tradition i allmänhet och därefter med hjälp av hermeneutisk filosofi. Utifrån den kritisk-hermeneutiska teologen David Tracy och hans traditionsförståelse fördjupas sedan diskussionen genom att fokusera på specifikt den kristna traditionens förändring och kontinuitet. Tracys traditionsförståelse relateras därefter till funktionen hos det dynamiska systemet, såsom det definieras inom social-ekologin, och det tillhörande begreppet resiliens, som handlar om ett systems förmåga att härbärgera förändring utan att det förlorar sin grundläggande funktion och kollapsar. Genom att jämföra Tracys traditionsförståelse med idéer om ett social-ekologiskt dynamiskt system i rörelse, och låta resiliensbegreppet hjälpa till att ställa frågan om vad som kan sägas vara en hållbar kristen tradition, introduceras begrepp från det social-ekologiska fältet i den kritiska hermeneutiken inom den systematiska teologin, för att därigenom bidra till en teologisk analys. Detta görs med särskilt fokus på tre aspekter – komplexitet, innovation och beredskap – som alla utgör förutsättningar för systemresiliens. Dessa tre aspekter hos resiliensbegreppet ställs sedan i relation till David Tracys kritiskt hermeneutiska traditionsförståelse med utgångspunkt från frågan om vad som kan förstärkas hos Tracy för att man bättre ska förstå traditionens hållbara förändring. 

Med hjälp av en rad lutherska systematiska teologer resoneras kring hur en sådan förstärkning skulle kunna se ut genom att presentera ett antal formbara kriterier för en hållbar tradition. Det handlar om ett bibliskt kriterium, ett förnufts-logiskt och personligt erfarenhetskriterium samt ett etiskt kriterium. Dessa förändringskriterier syftar till att öka förståelsen för den kristna traditionens hållbara förändring förstådd som ett resilient dynamiskt system som klarar av att fungera på det sätt systemet är tänkt att fungera. Insikterna från mötet mellan Tracys traditionsförståelse och resilienstänkandet, tillsammans med de formbara kriterierna, tas sedan med in i återvändandet till studiens huvudfråga om hur trons kontinuitet och samtidigt skiftande uttryck kan förstås. I slutet presenteras så ett konstruktivt förslag till hur en resilient samtidsteologi för Svenska kyrkan skulle kunna se ut, en teologi som jag hoppas kan bidra till förståelsen för och hur kyrkan idag kan tala kring trons ständiga förändring och på samma gång kontinuitet. Allra sist tas vi tillbaka till det kyrkorum vi befann oss i inledningsvis, för att i ett Framlängespreludium – som fungerar som pendang till Baklängespreludiet – för att med blicken framåt spekulera kring kyrkans framtida situation. 

CfP: “Civil Theology”: A History of the Concept

The Italian journal “Politica e religione. Annuario di teologia politica/Yearbook of Political Theology” welcomes submissions from various fields (History of Political Thought, History of Christian, Jewish or Islamic Thought, Philosophy, Theology, History of Law) for an issue focussed on the history of the concept of “civil theology”

Abstract submission deadline: October 15, 2021
Full paper submission deadline: February 28, 2022

The Topic

The phrase “civil theology” (theologia civilis) appears in Augustine (The City of God, book VI) and is attributed to Varro. Along with the “mythical theology” of poets and the “natural theology” of philosophers, Varro mentions the “civil theology”, which concerns the public cult of gods established within the city. Making occasional appearances in medieval texts, from the early modern period onwards the phrase was increasingly used, and overlapped with similar expressions as “civil religion”, “political religion”, “political theology”, with no substantial variation in the meaning until D’Alembert’s and Diderot’s Encyclopédie. Nineteenth-century debates attest the preponderance of “political theology”, both in theological and political areas, and the phrase was subsequently made famous by Carl Schmitt’s essay on Political theology, in 1922.

The volume aims at casting light on the historical roots and the different uses, functions and meanings of the concept of “civil theology”/”political theology” from Varro to Schmitt. Special attention is to be paid to the semantic shifts of the concept and to its actual presence in a number of classic texts. Topics of interest include,page2image51732928page2image51734272

but are

• • • • • •

not limited to, the following:

V arro on “civil theology”: origins, roots. Theconceptof“civiltheology”inAntiquity,fromVarrotoAugustine. Theconceptof“civiltheology”intheMiddleAges. Theconceptof“civiltheology”/“politicaltheology”fromtheRenaissancetotheEncyclopédieTheconceptof“civiltheology”/“politicaltheology”inthe19thcent. Theconceptof“civiltheology”/“politicaltheology”inthe20thcent.


Abstracts (c. 150 words, with essential bibliography) should be submitted to the address, by October 15, 2021. Selected authors will be notified by October 30, 2021. The full paper (in Italian, English, French, German or Spanish) should be approximately 45.000 characters, including footnotes, and should be sent electronically to, by February 28, 2022. All submissions undergo a double-blind peer review process and should be prepared accordingly. Publication is expected by the end of 2022.

Categorized as Other

Theological Genealogies of Modernity – recordings

Recordings are now online from the Theological Genealogies of Modernity conference. You can watch them on the conference’s YouTube channel.

Genealogies of modernity are broad narrative accounts of the rise and nature of our present cultural condition. Theology nearly always features, in some way or another, in narratives about the formation of modernity, even if its role is just being a discourse and set of practices that was gradually marginalized by the onset of a more secular age. This conference gathers together an international team of scholars to explore genealogies of modernity sympathetically and to evaluate them critically. The contributors will discuss a range of important figures and focused topics, and they will pay special attention to stories that are often, though perhaps unhelpfully, understood as decline narratives—accounts of modernity that do not associate it unambiguously with progress. So-called decline genealogies have significant influence within theology across several confessional traditions, but like any narrative with the massive scope of a genealogy of modernity, making a case for them is necessarily complex. How are “decline” narratives and other accounts constructed? If these stories seek to do something more than just to describe historical processes, how do subtly normative dimensions enter into them? How do genealogical narratives look from the perspective of constituencies that are often marginalized?

Register for free at

Conference Papers

Christine Helmer, “Gen[der]ealogy: A Theological Account”

Jonathan Teubner, “Liberal Progress, Historical Decline: Adolf von Harnack and the Practice of Historical Theology in the United States”

Cyril O’Regan, “Heidegger’s Apocalyptic Philosophy and the Return of Marcionism”

Brad Gregory, “Is Global Ecological Disaster a Sufficient Criterion for a ‘Narrative of Decline?’ Capitalism, Liberalism, and the Anthropocene”

Joel Rasmussen, “A Vote of Thanks to Nietzsche: Christianity, Modernity, and Cultural Plurality”

John Milbank, “Theology, Philosophy and History”

Silvianne Aspray, “How Then Should We Write Genealogies? A Proposal”

Ragnar Misje Bergem, “The Spirit of Modernity and its Fate”

Peter Harrison, “Genealogy, Normativity, and Naturalism”

Darren Sarisky, “Recharacterizing ‘Decline’ Narratives”

Pui-Him Ip, “Spiritual Exegesis, Ressourcement, and Theological Genealogies”

Categorized as Events

Imagination in Religion: Perspectives from the Philosophy of Religion

Anthology on Lit Verlag edited by Espen Dahl, Jan-Olav Henriksen, Marius T. Mjaaland.

Religion would be impossible without imagination. Imagination provides content that otherwise escapes discourse and perception. Thus, it opens up a productive realm for creative involvement that keeps religion from sinking into trivialities or abstractions. The contributions in the present volume explore in various ways potentialities and problems linked to imagination’s role in the context of religion. The book challenges readers to think again and think differently about imagination in religion – which, in itself, involves the power of imagination. The book opens up fresh perspectives on the interactive dynamics between imagination and various faculties or dimensions of life. Imagination might be involved in thinking, perceiving, contemplation, and in practices. 

“Den guddommeligt skønne natur” Heideggers Hölderlintolkning og Løgstrups metafysik

Article by Svend Andersen in Dansk teologisk tidsskrift.

Abstract: The article offers a contribution to the understanding of K.E. Løgstrup’s metaphysics focusing on his reading of Friedrich Hölderlin’s poetry and Martin Heidegger’s interpretation thereof. Heideggerian ontology plays a crucial role in Løgstrup’s theology as a philosophical explication of the pre-understanding of Christian faith. At first, existential ontology was essential in this respect, but later Løgstrup realized the necessity of broadening the view to being in general, which equals the movement towards metaphysics. In this movement, Hölderlin as interpreted by Heidegger is pivotal, an important element being the “poetic openness” Løgstrup introduces in The Ethical Demand. In unpublished manuscripts, Løgstrup claims that poetic openness in Hölderlin has an ontological and metaphysical content, and his reading thereby anticipates central themes in his later metaphysics such as omnipresence, particularity, and the history-nature relation.

Religiös mångfald och oenighet

Article by Patrik Fridlund in Förnuft och religion : filosofiska undersökningar (Artos, 2021), edited by Mikael Stenmark, Karin Johannesson, Ulf Zackariasson.

Anthology abstract:

Människor har under alla tider funderat över livet, kärleken, lidandet, Gud, varifrån vi kommer och vad som kommer att hända när vi dör. Religionsfilosofins syfte är både att förstå och kritiskt och konstruktivt granska människors föreställningar om, svar på och förhållningssätt till dessa tillvarons grundläggande frågor. Vad menar exempelvis människor när de säger att Gud finns eller att naturen är allt som finns, att livet är meningsfullt eller att det är absurt, att vi har en fri vilja eller att våra handlingar är förutbestämda och att det finns en objektiv moral eller att gott och ont egentligen inte existerar? Och finns det några goda skäl att tro att verkligheten är så beskaffad? Denna bok ger en introduktion till det filosofiska utforskandet av de olika religiösa och sekulära livsåskådningar som vuxit fram ur brottningen med dessa människolivets stora frågor till exempel kristendom, islam, scientism och sekulär humanism. 


Article by Francis Jonbäck in Studia Theologica.

Philosophers of religion have traditionally focused their attention on belief in God and assessed such belief in terms of it having some epistemic status like “rationality” or “probability”, or indeed by determining whether or not it constitutes knowledge. In this paper, I focus my attention on the non-doxastic attitude of hope and formulate reasons for whether or not we should hope for God. In light of these reasons, I formulate hopeism as a research programme according to which we should develop concepts of God by starting with the question of what type of being would be worthy of our utmost hope. I compare this view with belief-based concepts of God, such as perfect being theism and what I call worship-worthiness theism. Arguably, the greatest benefit of choosing hopeism is that it is inclusive. Most atheists as well as agnostics and theists can endorse the view. I also suggest a number of directions in which hopeism can be developed.

Existence in the thought and theology of Hans Lassen Martensen

Article by Elizabeth Li in Studia Theologica.

This paper brings to light the overlooked existential commitments of the Danish speculative theologian Hans Lassen Martensen. Primarily known and studied today for being the arch-rival of Søren Kierkegaard, Martensen continues to suffer under his Kierkegaardian caricature as a courtesan to Hegelian speculative thought and to Christendom’s cultural religiosity. In contrast to this portrayal, this paper argues that Martensen’s thought can be viewed as part of a wider existentialist movement developing in nineteenth-century Danish philosophy in response to the dry abstractions of rationalism. It is shown that Martensen’s theological and ethical positions spring from a deep-seated concern with questions of existence, which find expression in three distinct but related moments of Martensen’s theological authorship: Firstly, in his definition of religion as an existential relation, secondly in his view that dogmatic theology should be understood as existential knowledge, and finally by understanding his theological ethics as existential striving.